When you begin to list the best offensive linemen to come through Mater Dei in the 26 years that Bruce Rollinson has been head coach, Lenny Vandermade and Khaled Holmes immediately come to mind.
Vandermade starred for the Monarchs from 1996-98, became a four-year starter at USC and has moved into coaching after a brief professional career. Holmes anchored the Mater Dei line from 2005-07, was a three-year starter at USC and is set to begin his third NFL season with the Indianapolis Colts.
Before he’s finished at Mater Dei, senior left tackle Frank Martin hopes to be mentioned in the same breath as Vandermade and Holmes.
“I just want to be known as one of the greatest lineman to come out of Mater Dei,” Martin says. “That’s my goal. I just want to leave my legacy.”
Martin, who stands 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs approximately 300 pounds, is already following in many of the same footsteps as Vandermade and Holmes.
He has been a key starter for the Monarchs the last two seasons, earning Cal-Hi Sports all-state honors among sophomores in 2013 and becoming one of only two offensive linemen to repeat as a junior.
In April, he committed to USC and, over the summer, was the only lineman from Orange County invited to The Opening Finals, a premier recruiting showcase.
After not surrendering a sack until the final game of last season, a main goal for Martin this fall is not allowing a sack the entire season, something Vandermade accomplished as a senior in 1998.
“If I stay with my technique and practice hard every day, those goals are easy,” he says.
His biggest challenge will be moving from right tackle to the left side for his senior year, putting additional responsibility on protecting the blind sides of the two young quarterbacks the Monarchs plan to use.
“I have to flip everything,” he says. “Everything’s opposite now.”
Rollinson plans to lean even more heavily on Martin this season. He’s not ready to put him in the same class as Vandermade and Holmes, but doesn’t believe Martin will face anyone better than him this season.
“My message to Frank is very simple,” Rollinson says. “You’ve got two years’ experience; you should be dominating. And if the talent level is pretty equal, you should still win.”
In addition to being one of the key offensive players for the Monarchs, Martin will be asked to mentor an offensive line that will likely have three sophomore starters for Friday night’s season opener against Bishop Amat at Santa Ana Stadium.
“I’m challenging the left side, which is [senior] Zach Aguirre and Frank, ‘There should be no problems on the left side and you better be talking to your brothers on the right,’“ Rollinson says. “Because [the sophomores] have no idea what they’re walking into next Friday night. None.”
Martin has taken a keen interest in helping sophomore right tackle Tommy Brown, a 6-foot, 7-inch, 320-pound 15-year-old who could take the baton from Martin as the next great blocker for the Monarchs.
“He’s going to be really good if he gets his technique right,” Martin says. “Right now, he’s kind of rusty because I don’t know if he’s fully fit into his body, but he’ll develop into a great player.”
He’ll have a deep set of footprints to follow, that’s for sure.